beyond the big daybreakfastDIYentertainingFood & Drinkonce wedweddings

beyond the big day: a pancake breakfast

by Grace Bonney

[image credits: Bridesmaid, couple, and napkin/plate images by Max Wanger, Couch image by Ye Rin Mok, Pancake image unkown, Calligraphy by Rifle Design, Ranunculus image]

When researching inspiration for this shoot, we kept coming back to the beautiful wedding of Holly and Billy which was originally featured on the lovely blog, 100 Layer Cake, and shot by the incredible Max Wanger. Holly and Billy’s wedding was colorful, fun, and a little bit retro which was the exact feel we we’re hoping to attain with our pancake breakfast.

I love the idea of being able to set up a table anywhere and then getting to spend precious time with friends. The park is the perfect place for a little get together. Throw in some delicious mini pancakes, easy DIY projects, and you’ve got one adorable breakfast! Two of my favorite ladies, Ashley Meaders of The Flashdance and Jesse Chamberlin from Our Labor of Love, teamed up with Once Wed to show just how easy it is to create a sweet DIY pancake breakfast. Here’s more about the shoot from Ashley…

CLICK HERE for all 20 beautiful images and Ashley’s pancake breakfast decor how-tos after the jump!

Starting your day off with good friends and a delicious breakfast sounds like the perfect morning to me.

The paper mobiles are super easy to make. For the base, just take the inside of an embroidery hoop and cover it tightly with a strip of fabric. The rest of the mobile is made out of paper. Just cut strips of paper, fold them in half and then glue the ends together (it helps if you make a flap at one end). Combine smaller pieces into bigger pieces for different designs. Once you get all the paper shapes constructed, punch a hole in the top of each one and then hang with twine. You can customize the mobiles by using differently shaped embroidery hoops or by switching up the paper color and twine.

When it comes to setting a table, sweet and simple always works great. We used vintage hankies as napkins and a soft white cotton for the cover. It’s easy to dress up something simple by sewing on a lace pattern to the bottom of the tablecloth or sourcing a vintage one like we did. The Goodwill stores in Atlanta are always our go to place for cheap linens(this one was only $3).

To top off the mini pancakes, hand draw your guests’ names on colorful stripes of paper, fold in half, glue the ends together, and then poke a sewer through the middle back. It’s a great way to bring the paper element onto the table while creating a personalized touch all at the same time. We also continued the idea by making tags for the vintage syrup containers we found at our local antique market, Kudzu.

Flowers can be daunting for someone who doesn’t deal with them on a regular bases. I take the easy way out and always go to Trader Joe’s. They have beautiful filler flowers and ranunculus always seem to be in season there. We found old tins and used them as the flower containers, along with some charming blue mason jars and vintage coffee and tea canisters.

For all you Once Wed readers, this idea is perfect for a bridal shower!

Event Design: Ashley Meaders of The Flashdance

Amazing Photography: Jesse Chamberlin from Our Labor of Love

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    • jess and rebecca

      you could easily put the pancakes on a parchment lined tray and keep them warm in an oven until they’re ready to be served.


  • Of course this is gorgeous!! All of those people are constant inspiration! I love seeing all the people that continue to inspire me working together :)

  • I love breakfast parties. I threw a housewarming brunch and it was so much fun! People could drop in for a bite or stay all afternoon. To day my friends still say it’s one of the best parties they went to!

  • I am just starting to brainstorm for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party Coming up the first week of June. So far I have bought some really cute oriental fabric & bamboo fans, and I wanted to host it by a near by beach under the trees. These images are putting me on the right track. Beautiful photo shoot! Thank you for the inspiration.

  • I love this pancake breakfast idea and especially the soft, pastel colours used and pretty flowers! The name writing is so beautiful and artisitc! I love the mobile decoration! Great photography – I love it!!! Thank you for sharing xo

  • Grace,
    I’m so glad you said something, that was ridiculous!! i love love love love design sponge!!!! and always am beyond inspired by your posts!

  • Gosh, you couldn’t even take the part about spilling a heavy jar of grapefruit juice with a 5-inch opening and no spout as a joke? Who wouldn’t spill that?

    I apologize to anyone here who was offended by my remarks. I was trying to be funny and self-deprecating. If I did this in real life, I have no doubt I would break a few plates transporting them to the park, inadvertently stab one of my friends with a toothpick name card and a dog would run up and steal all my pancakes as I was setting them out. That’s just what happens whenever I try to recreate something I’m inspired by and, yes, I know that spills are not the end of the world. I meant no disrespect to the gals who set this up and did not mean to come off as critical of their work. They obviously did a terrific job and I did say I loved the post.

    Honestly though, this has left me with such a sour taste in my mouth. I loved loved loved loved design sponge as well, but evidently I am to persevere in trying to achieve this impossible aesthetic perfection and keep any comments beyond “That’s lovely!” to myself.

    …it won’t be a problem, Grace.

    • st@cy

      you can say that you loved the post, but you book-ended that comment with sarcastic criticisms.

      emily and her team worked very hard to put together this shoot and i’m going to defend them if i think they’re being unfairly criticized.

      i welcome, and allow, negative feedback on a regular basis, but i’m allowed to respond to it just as much as you’re allowed to leave it.


  • I saw this and worried about the pancakes being cold as well (though I think park grills and crockpots are both great solutions I didn’t think of), but that just made me think that this would be a perfect setting to do fruit salad, muffins, granola and yogurt, etc. It doesn’t have to be pancakes! The point is all the beautiful styling.

  • This is so pretty and inspiring! I love everything about it! What kind of flowers did you use? Thank you xo

  • Happy Pancake Breakfast everyone! I ended up here after reading a post on Amy Atlas’ blog, and I’m so glad i clicked through so that i could see the entire “shoot”. The photos were amazing, but the commentaries were much better!!!

    Here’s what i appreciate:

    1. Photo credits are actually listed!!! Thank you for this! Too many bloggers pilfer pix and never once give credit. So refreshing to see the credits…

    2. gorgeous handwriting

    3. ranunculus – my favorite flowers hands down

    4. honest back & forth banter.

    For everyone who is worried about cold pancakes, maybe you could substitute something else for breakfast, like a big muffin, homemade mini donuts, scones, two mini bagels, etc… There’s plenty of other breakfast foods out there that don’t need to be warm to be palatable.

    onward people –

  • good grief!
    I am glad Grace answered st@cy, but ladies, ladies! Have some fun!
    Inspiration is for eye candy, things to look at and get the idea juices going.
    This is a little different than articles or posts that are intended to be more instructional.
    Personally I don’t want a lot of specific instructions to make my gathering exactly like someone else’s, too rebellious I guess.
    I liked the lightness of the theme and the idea of a pretty breakfast outside with friends.
    The practical details are different for every location and budget anyway.
    Thanks for the tip/reminder about Scotchguarding something you don’t want wrecked!

  • I love the ranunculus in the blue jars and the coffee tin vase! The name card idea is so cute because not only is it a seating card but it can hold floppy pancakes up. It’s like breakfasty perfection!

    Once wed + Design*Sponge=Awesome

  • who knew pancakes could be so controversial!!! Beautiful job ladies once again! I always get so excited when it’s 100 layer cake time on d*sponge! Love how you used the pancake flags as seating cards! xo

  • I love the photography. When I first saw the pictures I thought it was a miniature picnic. The perspective in some pictures makes everything look tiny!

  • There is nothing I love more than brunch and especially pancakes. The paper installations hanging from the tree branches are adorable – I love that idea and I think the color scheme could easily be tweaked to decorate for an outdoor lunch or dinner.

    Thanks for the tip about where to get the flowers! There isn’t a florist near my house so I never know where to go.

  • So simple yet so pretty and perfect for a post-wedding brunch or even a girl’s afternoon before the wedding!

    I also love the calligraphy! Whimsical and fun!

  • thank you for all the inspiration! this would be lovely for many occassions. i love the color palette and simplicity of it all. it looks manageable on a budget too which a graduate student (me) would love!

  • It’s all real cute but I kinda have to agree with Stacy. Plus the pancakes are so tiny, my friends and I would be done with them in two bites.

  • How adorable! and I think the mobiles made of paper chain links are a great idea ~ too fun. Thanks for the ideas, ladies … Beautiful as always!

  • A very beautiful photo shoot! Lovely pictures! But the first thing that came to mind for me as well was those pancakes. Seems pretty impractical for a park, and they’re never the same if not served fresh. But again, it’s eye candy so I give it a pass.

  • I like a lot of the ideas, although the mobiles were a bit too artsy-crafty for my taste. The idea is very cute though.

    One thing that made me think “photo shoot” were the names at the settings. Lucy, Rose, Kirsten, Stella, Olivet, and Elodie… Those are very popular-yet-unique names at the moment. Most of us in our 20s and 30s (the ages of a lot of your readers, I’m guessing) are named Jessica, Jennifer, Megan, Sarah, Amanda, Stacy… names that were popular when we were born. I love the names Lucy and Kirsten, but they’re definitely more popular for babies now than they were for babies in the 70s and 80s.

    Love the set up though! Very sweet.

  • hello, I do love this post, love the pics and they’re lovely ideas. I once got donuts with name card sticks on ’em, my friends even draw our faces on the card :)

    and thought about pancakes, they’re very nice :))

  • Grace, I did read your idea about keeping the pancakes warm in an crockpot. Have you tried this? Does it work? I’m curious because the pancakes I make are best served fresh, right off the griddle. I’ve tried warming and reheating but they are flatter and tougher in that case.

  • This is great for little kid parties. I doubt kiddies 20 and up would buy it. Very cute- makes me think of something one could do for a kids bday. Breakfast too early for a party? Well pancakes are fine anytime of the day! :-) Don’t forget the strawberries, bananas and blueberries though (I’m not fond of them on the plate alone like that)!

  • grace,
    thank you so much for including some of our wedding photos in such a beautiful post. as a designer it’s always exciting to know that your work is inspiring others (and let me tell you, a LOT of work went into our very DIY wedding!). maybe i’m crazy, but not only did i make name tags for 100 people, but i hand made napkins too! There was a lot of laughter but i don’t think any of it was directed at my efforts and there were plenty of spilled drinks and i didn’t care one bit. for me the joy is in the creating and in sharing that with my friends and family. whatever happens next only makes it better!

  • oh, this just made my evening–thank you. i want to go, right now! I love pancakes and all the sauces you can make for them. i want to do this under our old mulberry trees in my front yard.
    my 30-ish friends would dig this. really, who wouldn’t??
    thank you ladies!
    kara & darcy too

  • The is sooooooo beautiful, and YES just LOVELY!!! I love all the unique touches, and MY friends would soooo swoon over this delightful table setting! Ya know~~it’s all about the details! And girl you did a FAB job! Ignore that Stacy chick, she is one miserable KILLJOY with all her taste in her mouth!!! Shame on her!

  • This is sooooooo beautiful, and YES just LOVELY!!! I love all the unique touches, and MY friends would soooo swoon over this delightful table setting! Ya know~~it’s all about the details! And girl you did a FAB job! Ignore that Stacy chick, she is one miserable KILLJOY with all her taste in her mouth!!! Shame on her!

  • I am in love with this adorable table setting! One thing is cuter than the next, but I must say the mini pancakes take the icing on the cake!

  • Love this! I’m throwing a bridal shower at a winery and want to incorporate all these ideas. What are the larger jars that you have the juice in? Any ideas on where to get them?

  • I came back to look at this and was thinking oooh I could host a pancake breakfast – which I would make before then serve so I could sit and enjoy myself! Grace is right – the pancakes would stay hot(or french toast, croque monsieur, crepes), even in a cooler pre filled with hot water, dump out and dry. Wrap pancakes in parchment and tinfoil keeps things hot to transport. Even more fun would be of course to cook them on a BBQ grill! Maple syrup could also be brought hot in a thermos to keep food even warmer. Skewering stacks of pancakes actually makes it easier to serve! I have cooked in the middle of a field for 150 people and this actually looks like a piece of cake! I will however do this in my yard!

  • Grace,

    I stumbled upon this beautiful pancake breakfast and hosting one for my sister in law to be this September! Thanks for sharing and for putting up with all those negative nelly comments. Sheesh. Get a life people!

  • i’m so in love with this! i adore ashley’s work, so of course i am smitten with the decorations! they are adorable and DOABLE – i think there are far too many elaborate things that a lot of people aren’t comfortable tackling, so it’s nice to see something like this! i’m pretty sure that the best kinds of friends in this world are the kinds of friends that would ADORE something like this, no matter their age. love love!

  • Love this, thanks for posting. I’m a designer and I’m loving all the deatils her, so much to be inspired by. Can you tell me who did the ‘Meg Stephens’ calligraphy at the top of the post? It looks prefect for a project I’m working on at the moment. Would be graetful if you could point me in the right direction. Many Thanks : )

  • I love this idea & think I can incorporate several elements into my daughter Olive’s 3rd birthday party {sunshine & lemonade theme}. i heartcore love the paper mobiles, & they are even the perfect color palette for Olive’s party. thanks for ALL you do & all of the amazing *inspiration* on your lovely site!!!!!!

  • I’, going to do an inspiration shoot myself and I am sooooo inspired by this one! Thanks, ladies!

  • I host an Easter celebration at my home, annually, and I’m excited to use ideas from this post. LOVE the colors, flowers, and mobiles! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Well, despite the weird comments, I find this idea absolutely refreshing! In fact, my son, who takes after my husband and I as far as life philosophy goes, and who would otherwise have eloped, thinks this is the kind of wedding he could have: few people, and something simple like pancakes (his favorite breakfast food) for a low-key morning meal. Beautiful idea, simple, elegant!

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